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24 January 2011, 11:13 am
Thrilling Finish At Key West 2011
Key West
Thrilling Finish At Key West 2011

Key West 2011
Miami, USA

Victory literally came down to the last leg of the last race for many of the grand prix classes at Key West, USA 2011, presented by Nautica.
No class was more exciting than the RC44, which Mascalzone Latino captured via tiebreaker over Team Aqua by winning the final race. Skipper Vincenzo Onorato and crew not only got the fun in Race 10, but also managed to put a boat between themselves and Team Aqua to forge the tie with 22 total points apiece. The Italian team was declared the victor by virtue of having more first place finishes than the American syndicate.

"This is wonderful! It's like a date with a beautiful woman," an elated Onorato said upon returning to the dock at Historic Seaport. "It's always a pleasure to win in Key West. This is one of my favourite places in the world to sail."

Mascalzone Latino went from the agony of defeat to the thrill of victory after placing last in Race 9. Tactician Francesco Bruni quickly realized the Italian team had to win Race 10 and have Team Aqua finish third or lower.

"We knew it was a difficult situation and it didn't help that we got a bad start [in Race 10],"
Bruni said. "Everyone went right so we decided to try the middle and had a little luck that enabled us to get back into the race."

In the IRC 1 fleet, Vela Veloce skipper Richard Oland snatched victory away from Anema & Core in the last race. The Canadian based Southern Cross 52 trailed the Annapolis-based Judel Vrolijk 52 by two points going into Race 10, but wound up winning by one point after posting a bullet and watching Anema & Core place fourth.

"We knew we had to win the last race and put two boats between us and Anema & Core. We just kept our cool and didn't make any mistakes in the last race," said Oland. "It was a very close, competitive class and we are happy to come out on top.

"The boat was brand new last year and we were stil learning how to sail her. Since then we have made a lot of improvements in the boat and put together a much better crew.

"It involved a lot of hard work, but winning a regatta such as this makes it well worth it."

Dan Meyers was equally exuberant after skippering Numbers to victory in the mini maxi. The JV 66 won Friday's initial race and then held on for a one-point victory over Shockwave after placing fourth in the last two races.

Four time America's cup winner Brad Butterworth called tactics for Meyers, whose all star crew also included recent America's Cup Hall of Fame inductees Simon Leslie Daubney, Warwick Fleury and Dean Phipps as trimmers.

The Melges 32 was another grand prix class that came down to the wire with skipper William Douglass and the Goombay Smash registering a narrow two-point victory over Warpath.

Goombay Smash, Warpath and Leenbarca were all tied at the top with two races to go. But Goombay Smash closed with strong finishes of fifth and sixth while Warpath and Leenabarca both endured double-digit results that had to be discarded.

There was less suspense in the Melges 24 class as Blu Moon clinched victory by winning Race 8 then placing fourth in Race 9. Helmsman Flavio Favini won three races and placed fourth or better in fours others. And that consistency in a very competitive class earned Blu Boon the Boat of the Week award.

Jim Richardson and the Barking Mad team completed an impressive wire-to-wire win in the Farr 30 class by posting a strong line of 2-2-3 on Friday.

Brian Keane and his team aboard Savasana put forth a powerful performance in winning the always competitive J/105 class by 15 points.

Tonnerre de Breskens won nine of ten races in running away with victory in the IRC 2 class.

There was an equally dominant PHRF 3 winner with You Bad Girl winning nine races and placing second in the other.

And Le Tigre won the 16-boat J/80 class for the second straight year by finishing first or second in nine of ten races.

For full results click here.
Bill Wagner (As Amended by ISAF)
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